Prophetic Warning: The Impending Judgment on the World’s System

John made God’s view of the world’s system quite clear. He wrote, “Do not love the world or the things in the world.

“The love of the Father is not in those who love the world, for all that is in the world—the desire of the flesh, the desire of the eyes, the pride in riches—comes not from the Father but from the world.

“And the world and its desire are passing away, but those who do the will of God abide forever” (1 John 2.15-17).

John’s message to the church had two significant points.

(1) God’s people should not align their lives with the world’s system.

(2) The system that dominates the world is destined to pass away, but God’s followers will abide forever.

The World’s System – Babylon

Babylon is used to describe the world’s system in Revelation. Chapter 18 opens with the declaration that the world’s system (Babylon) will be destroyed.

The angel comes from the presence of God, empowered with great authority and reflecting the radiance and glory of God.

After this I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority, and the earth was illumined by his splendor.

He called out with a mighty voice,
“Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great!
It has become a dwelling place of demons,
a haunt of every foul spirit,
a haunt of every foul bird,
a haunt of every foul and hateful beast. (Revelation 18.1-2)

Babylon has always been symbolic of opposition to the advance of the kingdom of God. Isaiah prophesied the destruction of Babylon (Isaiah 21.9), just as did John in Revelation.

The pictures in Isaiah and Revelation announce the absolute desolation of the world’s system, where the proud achievements of the human race become the demonic haunts of unclean creatures.

Why must the world’s system be destroyed?

John uses symbolic words to describe the corrupting influence of Babylon (the world’s system).

For all the nations have fallen
from the wine of the wrath of her prostitution,
and the kings of the earth have engaged in sexual immorality with her,
and the merchants of the earth have grown rich from the power of her luxury.” (Revelation 18.3)

Adultery in the the Old Testament is frequently the word picture the prophets used for idolatry. Instead of being faithful to God, idolaters give their allegiance to a substitute for him.

Hosea captures the sentiment of what happens when people forsake God and turn to idols. He calls this prostitution and in other places adultery.

They shall eat but not be satisfied;
they shall prostitute themselves but not multiply,
because they have forsaken the Lord
to devote themselves to prostitution.
(Hosea 4:10)

Using adultery or prostitution as an image for Babylon (the world’s system) is quite appropriate. Babylon takes essential needs of humans and gives them ultimate value.

Our world needs commerce, government, business, and the other aspects of civilization. Babylon won’t let us use these instruments, but makes them items of utmost value.

For example, we need government. When we make government the answer to all of our problems, we have stopped using government and make it an idol.

We need business and commerce to be a civilized society. When we worship material items and serve business over the needs of other humans, we have crossed a line that leads to Babylon.

Isaiah devoted over one-half of his message to call God’s people away from idolatry to God.

In essence, he said that if we are depending on anything other than God, then we are aligned with the wrong thing.

Come Out of Her

In John’s first letter, he said “Do not love the world or the things in the world” (1 John 2.15).

The vision he received in Revelation said the same thing.

Then I heard another voice from heaven saying,
“Come out of her, my people,
so that you do not take part in her sins
and so that you do not share in her plagues.” (Revelation 18.4)

This is also the message from the prophets.

Depart, depart, go out from there!
Touch no unclean thing;
go out from the midst of it; purify yourselves,
you who carry the vessels of the Lord.
(Isaiah 52:11)

Come out of her, my people!
Save your lives, each of you,
from the fierce anger of the Lord!
(Jeremiah 51:45)

Paul gave a similar warning: “Do not be mismatched with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and lawlessness have in common? Or what partnership is there between light and darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14)

Augustine summarized why followers of Jesus should heed the prophets, Paul, and John: “We must renounce our rights as citizens of this world, and flee unto God on the wings of faith.”

There are two reasons to use the world’s system but not be fully devoted to it: (1) We don’t want to share in her sins. (2) We don’t want to receive any of her plagues.

No Healing for Babylon

Jeremiah observes that it is impossible to correct the world’s system. Since Satan is the foundation of the world system’s activity, it will never be brought into alignment with God’s purposes.

Jeremiah wrote approximately 600 years before the vision was given to John.

We tried to heal Babylon,
but she could not be healed.
Forsake her, and let each of us go
to our own country,
for her judgment has reached up to heaven
and has been lifted up even to the skies.
(Jeremiah 51:9)

John made the same observation as did Jeremiah and announced judgment on the world’s system.

“For her sins are heaped high as heaven,
and God has remembered her iniquities.

“Render to her as she herself has rendered,
and repay her double for her deeds;
mix a double dose for her in the cup she mixed.” (Revelation 18.5-6)

The martyrs of chapter 6 cried out for justice. The announcement is that they need wait no longer.

They cried out with a loud voice, “Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long will it be before you judge and avenge our blood on the inhabitants of the earth?” (Revelation 6:10)

Don’t Forget

It is important to recognize that the world’s system cannot be healed or corrected; its foundation is rooted in opposition to God.

Therefore, our allegiance and trust must be placed solely in God, rather than relying on the world’s system for solutions and security.

YouTube Video

Rudy Ross and I discuss this passage on YouTube today. It is on the Bob Spradling channel.

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